England struck twice quickly post lunch but Murali Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane did well to see of the reverse swing and scored freely towards end of the session © Getty Images
By Abhijit Banare
Jul 9, 2014
An unbeaten 70-run stand between Murali Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane saw off the pressure post lunch to take India to a solid total of at tea on Day One of the first Test against England at Trent Bridge on Wednesday. Having lost Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara in quick succession, India appeared to be losing the control they had before lunch where they notched up 106 in 30 overs at ease.
10 minutes in to the second session, former Indian spinner Bishan Singh Bedi had alerady shot off the old criticism associated with India — being complacent after starting off solidly. There was little to argue over the criticism as India lost two of their ‘star’ batsmen in a matter of minutes. A compact batsman like Pujara requires an exceptional delivery to be dismissed and James Anderson did just that. The slower ball angled in got Pujara to mistime and was caught superbly by Ian Bell at short mid-on. Pujara failed to add anything post lunch dismissed for 38. The bigger jolt came when Stuart Broad got Kohli for a single.
Two wickets and the wicket suddenly looked lively and Anderson was back to his usual self playing tricks with his seam bowling. He was spot on every time the ball pitched on the seam. The batsmen were tentatively raising their shoulders and watching the movement. By the 40th over, England were rewarded for taking care of the duke ball bringing reverse swing in to play. 12 overs post lunch and India has scored only 14; in sharp contrast with 40 scored in the first 10 overs of the day. Even a set batsman like Vijay looked new to the crease.
However, credit to Vijay and new batsman Ajinkya Rahane for showing good temperament. They were least interested in anything pitched outside. They watched the tricks from Anderson and Broad closely. By the time, the senior pros were replaced by Ben Stokes and Liam Plunkett, they were adept against movement and played their shots at will. Vijay in particular timed the ball sweetly to collect a few more boundaries. Though Rahane appeared cautious he was content playing the defensive game while Vijay did most of the scoring.
Vijay’s confidence was it its peek close to tea when he was fearlessly using cross-batted shots hitting past point and thirdman for boundaries. Within quick time England bowling looked like that of first session as the batsmen breathed easy. Rahane though was a touch unlucky as most of his well-timed shots were stopped just at the edge of boundary which fetched him only three.
Going in to tea, India are still in control of this innings. The key from hereon will be to keep the partnership going post tea and not break the momentum like it happened at the start of second session. A 400+ total there for India.
India 177 for 3 (Murali Vijay 92*, Cheteshwar Pujara 38; James Anderson 2 for 50) vs England.
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)